1996 saw the beginning of a significant demographic change in the neighborhoods of the Aurora Public Schools. Increasingly, the families enrolling children in these schools spoke little or no English and were unfamiliar with the culture and school climate in the United States. In response to the growing need in these schools for “something” that could bring these families into the schools and make them full partners in their children’s education, The Learning Source began to look at how to meet the needs of these parents and children.
A partnership began between the Aurora Public Schools’ Title I Department, The Learning Source for Adults and Families, the National Center for Family Literacy and Toyota Motor North America through a three year grant.
Subsequently, The Learning Source received a grant that funded the Family Literacy programs in three elementary schools located in the Aurora School District.
The concept built on the traditional model of family literacy which focused on pre-school and early childhood education, and then expanded it to work with families who have children in kindergarten through the fifth grade. The four components of family literacy – Children’s Education, Adult Education, Parent Time and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time – were further developed to work within a traditional elementary school setting.
The premise behind the project continues to advocate bringing parents or primary caregivers to school along with their children in order to give them the basic skills they need to be actively involved with their children’s’ education. Parents learn to speak, read and write in English. They also learn about community resources available to them. School staff teaches them about their curriculum, discipline plans, and child development. Both parents and school staff become familiar and comfortable with one another. Parents help their children in the classroom weekly, and are guided to ensure they have the skills they need to do classroom activities successfully.
The family literacy approach offers whole families educational opportunities so that every member is able to improve literacy and life skills. It is based upon the simple, but powerful premise that parents and children learn best when learning together. The benefits span generations; both parents and their children build essential skills to learn and compete in today’s economy.
Over time, the program has become increasingly integrated into the school district’s culture and has expended to eleven schools in both the Aurora and Cherry Creek School Districts.
Only parents or caregivers that have children currently enrolled at these schools can partake in the Family Literacy program. If you cannot meet this requirement we invite you to enroll in one of our community-based programs offered at other sites.
For more information about our Family Literacy programs, please contact:
- Harry Chan, Director, School-based Programs
- The Learning Source for Adults and Families
- 455 S. Pierce Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80226
- 303-957-2847 (direct line) 303-957-2879 (fax)
- E-mail: Harry@ColoradoLiteracy.org